(Adds details, background, comment on S-400)
ANKARA, April 26 (Reuters) - Turkey is trying to convince the United States to allow refiner Tupras, its biggest oil importer, to continue buying crude oil from Iran free of sanctions, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said on Friday.
Last year, Washington announced sanctions against buyers of Iranian oil, granting eight countries, including Turkey, waivers for six months. It said on Monday it will not renew those waivers and demanded that buyers stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions.
Iran is one of the biggest oil suppliers for Turkey, which is almost completely reliant on imports to meet its energy needs.
The U.S. decision damages regional cooperation and Turkey’s trade relations, Aksoy said during a press conference on Friday.
“Tupras is following the subject closely. The characteristics of their refineries are suitable for Iranian oil. We are trying to convince the U.S.,” he said, responding to a question about whether the refiner will continue buying crude oil from Iran.
Ties between the NATO allies have been strained lately over Turkey’s push to purchase Russian S-400 missile systems, which Washington says could compromise its F-35 fighter jets, and over differences in policy in Syria.
Ankara has proposed the creation of a working group to assess the impact of the S-400 on NATO systems. The United States has not yet responded to that proposal, Aksoy said on Friday. (Reporting by Ece Toksabay; Writing by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Jonathan Spicer)